The Meaning of Life Scarf

My Ravelry favorites and queue are filling up ridiculously fast. The problem is, I do quite a bit of knitting in public, and as such, friends and acquaintances often ask me to make them things.Because I am a sucker and like to make people happy, I tend to say yes.

Don’t get me wrong, I do charge for these pieces. Not a lot though. I think I charged Maranda $50, but the yarn was $30. For unbelievably great friends, I don’t charge at all for time or labor, but everyone pays for their own yarn, dammit, I’m broke. And then there are just the straight up presents that I have to make, because I always seem to volunteer myself.

So basically I never have time to make anything for myself. Literally the only items that I have knitted that are mine are a scarf and a hat. One each. I knit constantly, how can I have nothing to wear? So after Christmas, that’s it for quite awhile. No more. Although at the very moment I wrote that, I’m thinking “well, maybe for Tyler (fiancee). And Morgan (step-kid). And maybe mom, dad and Gwen (sister). See, this is the problem.  So perhaps I can try a moratorium on things for other people until the end of February? January at the very least. This girl needs some self control.

So except for the Christmas presents already lined up, this will be my last PFO (project for others – is that an established knitting term? Because it should be) for some time. So to kick off my “Selfish Knitting Period” I am posting my very first pattern that I have followed through on writing out. Without further ado, here it is, the Meaning of Life Scarf, so called for its 42 big cables. If you understand the connection, we can be friends.

Meaning of Life Scarf

Written patterns do confound me on occasion. What can be a very simple idea turns into quantum physics in knitting pattern lingo. Here’s a quick rundown of what you will be doing and why.

Picking it Apart

Cables: There are multiple kinds of cables going on in this pattern. There are sets of cables using 4 stitches total with two on the cable needle (C2F, C2B) and sets of cables using 8 stitches total with four on the cable needle (C4F, C4B). There are two sets of two knit-side cables visible on each side of the piece, however sometimes you will be creating said cables on the right (knit) side of the cable, and sometimes your will be creating the cables on the wrong (purl) side of the cable.  When you will be making cables with purled stitches, they are noted in blue below.

Size: Approximately 10.5″ x 9′

Materials: Cascade Yarns 220 Wool or any similar worsted weight yarn (100% Peruvian Highland Wool; 100 g. / 3.5 oz) – 3 skeins. I used Navy (8393), but pick your favorite.

Needle Size: US 8 (5 mm) knitting needles, or size needed to obtain guage

Tools: Yarn needle
Gauge: 20 sts in stockinette = 4″ / 5 sts per inch


CO 52

Section 1

Row 1: Knit

Row 2: P1, K50, P1

Row 3: K1, P1, K48, P1, K1

Row 4: P1, K1, P48, K1, P1

Repeat rows 3 and 4

Row 7: K1, P1, K48, P1, K1

Row 8: P1, K1, P4, K40, P4, K1, P1

Row 9: K1, P1, K4, P40, K4, P1, K1

Repeat rows 8 and 9 twice

Section 2

I used place markers between knit and purl sections.  While not necessary, it’s still kinda nice.

*Row 14 (Row A): P1, K1, P4, K6, P8, K4, P4, K4, P8, K6, P4, K1, P1

Row 15 (Row B): K1, P1, K4, P6, K8, P4, K4, P4, K8, P6, K4, P1, K1

Repeat rows A, B, A

Rs Row 19: K1, P1, K4, P6, K8, C2B, K4, C2F, K8, P6, K4, P1, K1 – This is the row everyone seems to have issues with – check out the walkthrough here.

Repeat rows A, B, A, B, A

Rs Row 25: K1, P1, K4, P6, C4B, P4, K4, P4, C4F, P6, K4, P1, K1*

Repeat * to * 42 times, or until whatever crazy length you like.

WS facing: Row A, B, A, B, A

Rs facing: K1, P1, K4, P6, K8, C2B, K4, C2F, K8, P6, K4, P1, K1

Repeat rows A, B, A, B, A

Section 3

Row 1a: K1, P1, K4, P40, K4, P1, K1

Row 1b: P1, K1, P4, K40, P4, K1, P1

Repeat rows 1a and 1b twice

Row 2a: K1, P1, K48, P1, K1

Row 2b: P1, K1, P48, K1, P1

Repeat rows 2a and 2b

Row 3a: K1, P1, K48, P1, K1

Row 3b: P1, K50, P1

Row 4a Knit

BO and weave in ends.

Meaning of Life Scarf

That’s it! My very first pattern! Hope you like it. So long and thanks for all the fish.

Would you like a nice, neat, printable version of this pattern? You can find it and others in my Etsy shop!

If you have any questions about the pattern, ask away in the comments below.


  1. I have been meaning to make this, like, forever! Ever since I first saw the blog. And one day I WILL! Even if it DOES look ridiculously complicated and brain-melting x

    • Natalie Webb says:

      It’s not too bad, I promise! It’s just a little section that repeats over and over. Give it a try!

  2. Libby,
    Cables aren’t too difficult, and really, and I only knit hats, scarves and pillows! The directions just look complicated. Seriously. It is a way to impress your friends with your skills. 🙂

    • Natalie Webb says:

      Thanks for the fellow projecter support Beth! You guys are all just the fucking best, seriously.

  3. It does look very complicated. I haven’t tried anything with cables yet. My question though is, does it double as a towel?

    • Natalie Webb says:

      Once you make one cable, the rest is cake. And I would posit that this would be even better than a towel. It’s long and flowy and easier for passing spaceships to spot.

      • LOL:) You know you’re not supposed to go anywhere without a towel, and if you can wear if as a scarf, even better.
        I am still having trouble with K1, P1 not looking right, So I am afraid to try cables. I have a little book somewhere that has some patterns with cables in it and it looked very complicated. I have knit a bunch of scarves and I usually loom knit hats to sell because it is faster. I have made one hat that was knit on regular needles and towards the top you had to K2 tog to shape it, then sew it up the back. I need to find that book because I started another hat like that with a different yarn and you just K 1 row, P 1 row and alternate until you have several inches, but it’s in the same book as the cable knit, so I am waiting to work on it until I find the book.
        I usually use Acrylic yarn because it is cheaper and I generally make the stuff first and then try to sell it as opposed to you having friends and family order something and pay for the yarn in advance. I started a business knitting and selling jelly and baked goods a couple years ago at a local dairy that has a Sample Sunday once a month, and have recently started an Artfire account, So I’m trying to keep my overhead low and try to get things done as fast as possible and still have them look like they were done with quality, because if it takes me forever to knit something, the customer isn’t going to want to pay for all the labor.

        • Natalie Webb says:

          The way I got better at various techniques was just to pick one and work it until I had it Acrylic is good to practice with, but for your nicer wearables, nothing beats the good stuff. If you want to try cables, just knit a swatch and try your hand! It’s just a simple twist in the fabric, and once you make one right, you get hooked pretty quick. Good luck!

  4. I had 2 skeins of Cascade 220 handpaints. I bought another today so I can start this as my next project!
    Thanks again for sharing your beautiful pattern.

    • Natalie Webb says:

      Oh man, I can’t even imagine how pretty this would be in a handpaint!

  5. Did you a selvidge edge on this? It is difficult to see in the pics.

  6. Um, yeah, me again…
    Am I reading this wrong? Is the cabling done in a purl stitch? When I follow the pattern, it happens on a purl section. I think.
    In the past I did cables with a graph, but I KNOW I can do this!

    Thanks so much! It is such a gorgeous scarf, and like you, I am ready for some knitting for myself!

    • Wait! I think I get it. Both sides have 2 cables. Back then front. Is that correct? (Fingers crossed. I would hate to start ripping it out!)

      • Natalie Webb says:

        It’s actually just that sometimes when you get to a cable row, you’re working on the backside of the piece, so you’re cabling with purls to make a cable on the right side. I think you’re fine though!

        • So, both sides don’t have cables? Well hell.
          Guess I will get some sleep tonight so I can start ripping tomorrow.

          • That messed me up, too. I knitted when I should have pearled because the instructions on the “Cable Knitting Walkthrough” only refer to knitting when you make a cable. I have to see if I can carefully take out 3 rows to go back to correct this. Others — be sure you pearl instead of knit if you’re on the pearl stitches when it’s time to make the cable.

            • Natalie Webb says:

              I have now added a note about this, because I can totally see how easy it would be to do this the other way. Thanks for bringing it to my attention guys!

          • Natalie Webb says:

            Oh my goodness you guys, I’m terrible. There are totally cables on both sides. It has been over a year since I’ve seen this scarf (it was a commissioned piece), and I had forgotten that there are smaller cables less frequently on the other side. Feel free to curse my name forever, as I have led you astray (hangs head in shame). Notations in pattern to clear this all up are coming.

          • I was getting ready to finish a reversible cable I stashed away ages ago because I was so confused! I am bringing this back out to do between Super Bowl commercials tonight. 🙂
            I only curse because you added to my already too large knitting cue, and I know I will get requests for it when people see how lovely it is!

          • I love the pattern! 🙂

  7. Oops, purls not pearls. 🙂 I was a little shaken up when I figured out I’d messed it up! 🙂

  8. Debbie says:

    Just wish I could figure out how to someone to my tablet to knit it away from home

  9. If you have follow-up corrections, I want them please. Thanks.

    • Natalie Webb says:

      It will be the same pattern, just in an easily printable PDF format. I’m working through all five of my patterns, and they are going up on The Project Shoppe on Etsy, one by one!

  10. Argghhhh.. I screwed it up too. Just finished row 25, and in row 19 I wondered if I should have purled the cable instead of knit it. I’m glad I accidently scrolled to the bottom of my screen and the comments caught my eye. Might not hurt to put a note on that row, cuz I didnt read all the notes at the top. This is my very first knitting project I’ve done where you follow a pattern, and my first time ever doing cables. Its surprisingly easy! Dont let the cables and the fact the directions look scary hard intimidate you. I have had this scarf in my favorites for over a year now and have been to afraid I’d get stuck to start it! I’m so glad I finally did! Its easy and fun! and beautiful! Thanks so much for posting this beautiful pattern!

    • Natalie Webb says:

      I put a number of notes in there recently. Those offending stitches are blue, with a note that refers to to explanation above. So glad you enjoyed making it, and sorry for the confusing bit!

  11. fariba says:

    Beautiful pattern.Thank you

  12. Sweetheart, it is your blog. I have never met you, but from the pictures I have seen on your blog, and your projects and style of writing, I think you say those things in a breezy, nonchalant way, and not to be offensive or shock. And even if you were trying to be shocking or offensive, it is your blog.

  13. Oh hell. It looks like you removed the comment, and my link to reply sent me to a new reply that looks totally non-sequitur now. Fuck it. 😉

  14. Ruth says:

    I would like to be able to print this pattern out in larger font. I am elderly and need larger print.
    It is not in PFD how can I get it that way?? to print it out?? I am NOT tech savvy for sure.
    I am 78 and cannot buy patterns due to my low income so I copy on my “old” printer and computer!!
    Thanks for any help you can give me.
    Ruth (78 yrs.old & homebound)

    • Natalie Webb says:

      Hello Ruth! All patterns on the Etsy shop are $1 (not too bad, I hope! – this blog does cost a bit to run), but you could always copy/paste into a Word document to print.

      • Ruth says:

        Thank you for your answer. I will check on Esty and hope I can get what I want. Others charge too much
        for their patterns…$1. is not bad for me…thanks for your attention to an old lady’s question. God Bless
        you and your family…Ruth

        • Natalie Webb says:

          But of course! I always answer questions on here. I will have some slightly more expensive patterns in time (such as the Fisherman’s Sweater I have spent months on), but these do help pay for hosting and such. I hope you enjoy knitting them as much as I did!

  15. Hi! Found your pattern through I have worked reversible cables before, and yes they can be a bit mind-boggling. A good starting exercise would be the Palindrome Scarf, for anyone who wants to just try their hand & maybe get used to the ideas involved — all the cables are the same size. Once you’ve done that, you may want to look at the Every Way Wrap (I’m pretty sure you can find Palindrome thru Ravelry, it was a free pattern; the EWW is from Interweave Knits so not free!).